Nov. 14, 2010
Site: State College, Pa. (Jeffrey Field)
Event: Big Ten Tournament Finals
Score: Michigan 4, Penn State 1
Records: U-M (14-4-3), Penn State (13-7-1)
Next U-M Game: Monday, Nov. 15 -- NCAA Selection Show (ESPNU), 4:30 p.m.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Freshman Soony Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) scored his nation-leading 18th goal of the season at 4:09, before senior Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) tallied two highlight-reel goals and sophomore Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) converted a penalty kick at 52:07, sending the University of Michigan men's soccer team to a 4-1 win over Penn State for the program's first Big Ten Tournament title Sunday (Nov. 14) at Jeffrey Field. With the triumph, the Wolverines earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Soony Saad, who scored three goals in three Michigan tournament wins, helped U-M tie the Big Ten record for most goals in a Big Ten Tournament title game. The five goals between the two teams also tie the Big Ten single-game record for a title match.
Defensive Player of the Tournament, redshirt junior Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial), made a career-best 10 saves in 83:33 minutes of action, while redshirt sophomore Tim Bergsma (Beverly Hills, Mich./Southfield Christian) saw 6:27 minutes in the net as time was winding down.
Michigan's offense came out on fire and started the scoring just five minutes into the game. Soony Saad picked up his nation-leading 18th goal of the season when Penn State goalkeeper Brendan Birmingham misplayed the ball in the box and Saad just tapped it home to give the Wolverines the early 1-0 advantage.
Meram, who has scored six goals in his last five games and is currently riding a five-game scoring streak, tallied his first goal in the 14th minute of the game. Hamoody Saad tracked down a ball in the midfield and played a perfect feed to the feet of Meram, who put it just past the outstretched hands of the Penn State goalkeeper, making the U-M lead 2-0 just 14 minutes into the first half. Meram struck again, for his second multiple goal game of the season, just 15 minutes later. Meram collected the ball in Michigan half of the field just a few feet away from the midfield line, juked a defender to his knees and sent a rocket high past the goalkeeper, giving U-M a 3-0 lead, the most goals the Wolverines have scored in the first half against a Big Ten team all season.
Drew Cost then scored Penn State's lone goal of the game in the 44th minute.
Blais' seven first-half saves helped the Maize and Blue defense stymie each shot that the Nittany Lions sent its way. Blais made two quick saves, including sending one over the crossbar and punching one out of danger to keep Penn State off the scoreboard until late in the first half.
The Wolverines put things out of reach for the Nittany Lions early in the second half with a converted penalty kick -- the first of the season -- from Hamoody Saad and coasted to their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title.
The Wolverines, who earn the Big Ten's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, will now wait to find out who they will face in the NCAA Tournament. ESPNU will broadcast the selection of the 48-team field at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Monday (Nov. 14). The first and second rounds of the tournament will be held on campus sites on Thursday (Nov. 18) and Sunday (Nov. 21).
Scoring, Time (Assist)
1st -- U-M, Soony Saad 4:09 (Brian Klemczak)
1st -- U-M, Justin Meram, 13:34 (Hamoody Saad)
1st -- U-M, Meram, 30:20 (Latif Alashe)
1st -- PSU, Drew Cost, 43:05 (Daniel Burnham, Justin Lee)
2nd -- U-M, Hamoody Saad, 52:07 (penalty kick)
Shots: U-M 16, PSU 23
Shots on Goal: U-M 7, PSU 10
Saves: U-M 9 (Chris Blais 9, Tim Bergsma 0), PSU 3 (Brendan Birmingham 3, Warren Gross 0)
Corner Kicks: U-M 3, PSU 5
Fouls: U-M 8, PSU 15
Cards: PSU, Justin Lee, 29:08 (Yellow); PSU, Brian Forgue, 52:07 (Red); U-M, Fabio Pereira, 63:23 (Yellow); PSU, Rafael Faria, 73:57 (Yellow); PSU, Patrick Krispin, 81:27 (Yellow).
2010 Big Ten All-Tournament Team
Domenic Barone, Michigan State
Sam Scales, Ohio State
Matt Eliason, Northwestern
Paul Yonga, Wisconsin
Chris Prince, Wisconsin
Rich Balchan, Indiana
Will Bruin, Indiana
Corey Hertzog, Penn State
Matheus Braga, Penn State
Soony Saad, Michigan
Hamoody Saad, Michigan
Today was Michigan's second appearance in the Big Ten Tournament final and the first since the 2002 season when the Wolverines fell to Penn State in the championship game, 2-1, at Jeffrey Field. Today's meeting was the fourth between the Wolverines and Nittany Lions in Big Ten Tournament action.
With the win today, the Wolverines move into a tie for the most wins in program history. Michigan's 14 victories tie the 2003 squad that went 14-7-1 and reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Michigan also has a chance to tie the program record for games played. Michigan has currently played 21 games; the record of 23 was set during the 2004 season.
Soony Saad scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season in today's game and has scored at least one goal in nine of U-M's last 10 games.
Justin Meram tallied his sixth goal in the last five games and has scored a goal in each of the last five games that he has played. His five-game scoring streak is tied for the longest streak for a Wolverine this season. Soony Saad also had a five-game scoring streak earlier this season.
U-M's four goals are the most the Wolverines have scored in Big Ten Tournament action in program history. Prior to this week's tournament, Michigan had only scored one goal in Big Ten Tournament games.
Today's game marked the second time that each of U-M's top three scorers have scored in the same game; they also each scored in U-M's win over Bowling Green on Oct. 27. Hamoody and Soony Saad and Justin Meram account for nearly 85 percent of Michigan's scoring this season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Steve Burns
On the game ... "What a great performance by the whole team. Our offense was firing on all cylinders, the midfield engine powered us on both sides of the ball all game long, our defense was disciplined and resolute, and our bench gave us the energy and lift we needed. I couldn't be more proud of our guys and how we've come together."
On winning the program's first Big Ten Tournament title ... "Another piece of history was made today for our program. We brought this talented group of players to Michigan to win championships and they definitely delivered. It's been in the making for the last 11 years, so this one feels good for past and present but especially the present."
Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 762-4423